The Netherlands Institute for Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology (NIFP) is responsible for the physical and psychological care of people staying in a custodial institution.
A custodial institution is, for example, a prison or a detention centre.
The NIFP has extensive specialist knowledge and experience in forensic care. Forensic care is psychological treatment given to offenders or people suspected of having committed a criminal offence.
The NIFP’s psychiatrists treat those people who have psychological problems.
The NIFP also works together with the institutions’ own psychologists, assisting them with their work by drawing up frameworks and organising educational activities, among other things.
In addition, the NIFP is charged with the physical care of those detained in custodial institutions, what is also known as somatic care. The NIFP examines what type of treatment is needed, aiming to keep it on the same level as in ordinary society. By setting up frameworks and guidelines the NIFP also assists the institutions’ own care providers with the adequate performance of their work.
Medical advisors working for the NIFP advise on various subjects such as detention suitability, or the capability of a convicted offender to serve their prison sentence.
Psychiatric evaluation reports
Another duty of the NIFP is producing psychiatric evaluation reports. These evaluations are carried out by a psychiatrist and/or psychologist. Their aim is to examine whether a person suspected of committing a criminal offence has a mental disorder. The Public Prosecutor or the judge can instruct the NIFP to conduct such an evaluation.
The Pieter Baan Centrum (PBC) is part of the NIFP. In the PBC, people undergo a six-week evaluation by a team of experts. Those people are often suspects of serious crimes. At the end of the evaluation, the experts write a psychiatric evaluation report on the examinee.
Indications for forensic care
An offender or a person suspected of having committed a criminal offence may need care during their stay in a custodial institution. Sometimes that person needs more care than can be provided at the place where they are staying at the time.
The NIFP examines which additional care is needed and then provides a care-needs assessment for the necessary treatment, which states what requirements that treatment must meet. An assessment can, for example, indicate that admission to a Penitentiary Psychiatric Centre (PPC) is needed. A PPC is a section in a prison where psychiatric care is always available to detainees with psychiatric disorders, an addiction or a mental disability.
Scientists at the NIFP conduct research in forensic psychiatry and psychology. That research helps their colleagues with their work in forensic care. The NIFP also organises study programmes and courses about the care in custodial institutions and psychiatric evaluation reports. These study programmes are intended for NIFP personnel but also for chain partners, such as probation service officers or members of the police.